Bloody Brothers review: Jaideep Ahlawat and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub only bright sparks in unremarkable series
It’s a mystery how Shaad Ali has been directing for so long.
The new Zee5 series Bloody Brothers, directed by Ali, is the latest Hindi remake of a Western series. The original is BBC’s two-season Guilt, a terrific Fargo-esque thriller set in Edinburgh, Scotland. Like most Hindi remakes of Western series, Ooty-set Bloody Brothers too is a faithful remake with zero local flavour. On top of that, Ali’s limp and unimaginative direction makes Bloody Brothers hard to sit through, which amazed me, given Guilt was so incessantly watchable. (Also read: Rudra The Edge of Darkness review: Ajay Devgn and Raashii Khanna are superb in well-made crime series)
At least with the Luther-inspired Rudra, which was just as dedicated a scene-by-scene remake, Rajesh Mapuskar’s direction had enough personality and verve to make the series its own beast. But Bloody Brothers is spectacularly second-rate and is only salvaged by its excellent lead actors, Jaideep Ahlawat and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. Bloody Brothers felt as if it could have been directed by just about anybody, an assistant or a second unit director.
As it is, Ooty is a hill station which is sufficiently atmospheric for a quaint mystery, which is how Blood Brothers/Guilt begins, but as the story slowly gets more complex, and gangsters get involved, Ooty starts to seem quite awkward. What was originally a hyperlocal British crime series, made with a lot of charm and style, becomes this flattened, unremarkable, plodding, drag of a show. It’s quite disappointing, honestly.
Hotshot lawyer Jagjeet (Jaideep Ahlawat) and his bookstore-running brother Daljeet (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) hit the elderly Samuel Alvarez (Asrani, in a cameo) with their car just outside his house while returning from a wedding reception. Samuel is instantly dead. Jagjeet and Daljeet cover up the crime; they quietly drag Samuel back to his room and on discovering that he was ailing from cancer, the brothers are confident that the police will conclude that Samuel died a natural death.
So far, so good. Things get messy when Samuel’s Mumbai-based niece Sophie (Tina Desai) pops up in the town. Jagjeet encourages Daljeet to flirt with and keep Sophie’s attention away from the discrepancies in her uncle’s death. But it turns out that there was a witness to the brothers’ crime: the canny neighbour Sheila (Maya Alagh). Elsewhere, Jagjeet’s wife Priya (Shruti Seth), who feels ignored, starts a relationship with her fitness trainer Tanya (Mugdha Godse).
While the memo was to simply ensure Sophie stays occupied enough to not poke into Samuel’s death, Daljeet, the sentimental poetry-spouting Urdusexual simp, ignores his elder brother’s advice and actually falls head over heels in love with the woman. Jagjeet is furious as he sees themselves getting too involved with the Alvarez family. Daljeet has always lived in the shadow of his more successful and assertive elder brother, and under Sophie’s influence, starts to imagine an independent life. The problem is that Daljeet appears to be determined to drag himself and his brother to jail.
Soon, Jagjeet has to fake-hire his perpetually drunk associate Dushyant (Jitendra Joshi, always a delight to watch) as a private investigator who will help allay Sophie’s doubts. But Dushyant has reasons of his own to do his job diligently, adding more headache to Daljeet’s list of growing problems. As Sheila makes matters worse for Daljeet, he desperately needs money, which brings campy gangster Handa (Satish Kaushik, in fine form) to the mix.
As you can understand, the plot has really become convoluted by now and would seem overcooked in the hands of an inept director, which is exactly what happens with Bloody Brothers. The grating score by Roy doesn’t help.
Siddharth Hirwe, Anujj Rajoria and Riya Poojary are credited as the “scripted development team”, which is mentioned in the end credits long after the principal cast, marketing & client servicing, commercials & operations’ people, and others have been mentioned. That should tell you exactly how important the makers consider the writing team in the scheme of things.
Here’s some advice I had also mentioned in my review for Rudra, which was also bankrolled by the same production house: the writing makes or breaks an OTT show, and in situations where a foreign plot is being transported to an Indian context, the story has to be sufficiently localised (and, in the process, even improved) for it to work. This has already been done successfully with the Sridhar Raghavan-scripted Criminal Justice, an adaptation of the BBC series of the same name. And the same production house which bankrolled Rudra and Bloody Brothers produced Criminal Justice India. So there’s no reason to not know what to do right.
Director: Shaad Ali
Cast: Jaideep Ahlawat, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Tina Desai